Neighbours of a beautiful field are celebrating after their fight to protect their access to it was victorious.

Harrow Council and Harrow Foundation confirmed on Monday that an agreement has been reached between the two parties after the foundation, closely linked with Harrow School, issued a notice to the authority in July insisting it honours the terms of a 1935 lease to build a gate blocking the residents of Kingsfield Road, Harrow on the Hill, from accessing Church Fields.

The demands on the land, used for recreational activities alongside being a vital community and transport link in the area, were withdrawn however, after a demonstration showcased the strength of feeling behind the issue for neighbours, with a petition from residents carrying 391 names calling for the council to act and preserve their public access to the land was handed in to the Labour administration’s cabinet in September.

While a gate will now not be built, it is understood that a sign will be put up informing residents of the freeholder’s right to restrict access ‘at any time’.

Mark Mills, of the Harrow Hill Trust, said: “This will be welcomed by everyone. The public opinion has been followed.

“There was a great community spirit behind the campaign, with people coming together to speak with one voice.

“It is only right to preserve the access for residents who have enjoyed it for decades.

Church Fields petition protest at Harrow Council Civic Centre, Station Road.
 

“What is a concern is that with this sign going up, you do wonder if it will be used in the future to support access being restricted, but for now the overwhelming feeling is relief.”

The council lease the land from the foundation, and last renewed the lease in 1992, which expires in two years.

A Harrow Council spokesman said: “Church Fields is a much loved and well used area steeped in history.

“We know the uncertainty surrounding access to Church Fields has been concerning for residents over the past few months.

“As a council we have been trying to progress this matter as quickly as possible with John Lyon’s Foundation.

“We have now reached an agreement in principle, which will ensure pedestrians can continue to access the field for many years to come.”

A spokeswoman for Harrow Foundation said: "We are delighted to have reached a solution with the council that takes into account the wishes of the local community."